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Archive for Monday, June 8, 2009

Man convicted in Lawrence firefighter’s death released from prison

David Winebrenner was found guilty in 1986 blaze that killed firefighter

June 8, 2009

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The man convicted of killing a Lawrence firefighter in 1986 was released from prison Monday after being granted parole, a parole board official said.

David Winebrenner, 44, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder for setting the July 17, 1986, fire that killed firefighter Mark Blair. Winebrenner served nearly 22 years in prison before his release.

Blair, a seven-year veteran of the local fire department and the first firefighter to die in the history of the department, was killed while battling a house fire at 3028 Rimrock Drive, near Holcom Park. A roof beam collapsed on him while he was searching for occupants.

Winebrenner, 21 at the time, set fire to his parents’ home while they were sleeping inside. His father said his son started the fire because he was angry about not being able to drive the family’s new truck.

Winebrenner received a life sentence for first-degree murder in October 1987, but the Kansas Parole Board granted him parole on May 21. He’ll be supervised by the Wichita parole office, said Marie McNeal, parole board administrator.

Winebrenner was denied parole in 2006, at a time when his parents supported their son’s release from prison.

During his imprisonment, he was held at various Kansas penitentiaries. Last August, he was transferred to the Wichita Work Release Center, a minimum-security prison in which inmates are required to maintain full-time employment in the community and are allowed to leave confinement to perform their jobs.

Comments

KansasVoter 5 years, 6 months ago

This guy didn't intend to kill a fireman, so I don't see any problem with granting him parole. This situation seems more like involuntary manslaughter than first degree murder to me anyway.

Xwards 5 years, 6 months ago

KansasVoter......in the commission of a felony, in this case arson, when a death happens, the perp is charged with "felony murder" which is first degree murder.

JimmyJoeBob 5 years, 6 months ago

SOME ONE DIED IN THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY (AGG. ARSON) THAT MAKES IT FIRST DEGREE MURDER. I GUESS IF HE GET'S MAD AGAIN AND STARTS ANOTHER FIRE AND KILLS SOMEONE ELSE IN THE PROCESS IT WON'T BE A BIG DEAL.

flux 5 years, 6 months ago

Kansas voter = dumb ass! He inteded to kill his mother and father while they were sleeping and killed a fireman instead.

another_concerned_parent 5 years, 6 months ago

David planned and intended to kill his parents, Mark just happened to be doing his job, which by the way he was very good at. In my personal opinion, David never should have been moved to a work-release facility. He may do this again, if he should ever get angry about something as minute as not being able to take a break at work when he wants to. Wichita residents: BEWARE!!!!!

pace 5 years, 6 months ago

Pywacket, I respect your opinion, I don't respect you ascribing that you speak for the families and communities involved. I don't agree with your opinion. I would prefer that the person gets parole and continues working, earning his own living. Twenty years can make a difference. He probably is worth taking a chance on,

jfcountyproud 5 years, 6 months ago

I cannot begin to imagine what it is like for firefighters across the nation to go to work in the morning knowing that there is always the chance of never returning home to their families and loved ones. It has to take a special type of person to be a firefighter, one that is brave, caring, dedicated and most importantly someone who puts others before themselves. FF Blair gave the ultimate sacrifice the night of July 17th when he put other peoples lives before his.

FF Blair along with this brothers and sisters of LFD reported for duty that morning not knowing that went their duty was over they would have one less brother, one less hero.

For the people on this blog who think that Winebrenner should have been let out of prison.....you have your opinion and I respect your opinion, however do me a favor and ask yourself if you could have done with Mark Blair did? Could you have run into a burning house to save another persons life only to give your own? Could you do that? An inoccent life was taken that night because he was helping others.... The bottom line: Firefighter Mark Blair was murdered. Winebrenner intended on killing someone that night and it was a hero. Winebrenner should spend the rest of his life in a cell (not work release on the streets) but in a cell where he can think about Mark Blair and his children that havent seen their father in over 20 years.

Thank you FF Blair for your service to the citizens of Lawrence, KS. And to the current members to LDCFM: Thank you for your service and for keeping my family and friends safe, and please never forget your brother that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

KansasVoter 5 years, 6 months ago

Xwards (Anonymous) says… "KansasVoter……in the commission of a felony, in this case arson, when a death happens, the perp is charged with “felony murder” which is first degree murder."

I know that's the law, but it still doesn't sound the same as intentionally murdering someone. To me, it sounds like involuntary manslaugher.

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flux (Anonymous) says… "Kansas voter = dumb ass! He inteded to kill his mother and father while they were sleeping and killed a fireman instead."

I'm a dumb ass? Is that what you "inteded" to say? How do you know what this guy "inteded" to do when he set the fire? Maybe he "inteded" to just burn the house down and piss off his parents? You should never try to speculate why a person "inteded" to commit a crime unless you have all the details.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

flux, your language is not appropriate. You are entitled to disagree with her but please do so in a civil matter. I am not sure if you loathe KV specifically or all people who vote in Kansas. KansasVoter you should not have repeated the language.


Okay, this is in the article. Winebrenner was denied parole in 2006, at a time when his parents supported their son's release from prison. During his imprisonment, he was held at various Kansas penitentiaries. Last August, he was transferred to the Wichita Work Release Center, a minimum-security prison in which inmates are required to maintain full-time employment in the community and are allowed to leave confinement to perform their jobs.


His parents are comfortable with him back at home. He is holding down a job and he has been out in public doing that job. Sounds to me like he is ready for a parole.

nekansan 5 years, 6 months ago

Seriously people, all this guy did was burn down an entire house, killing a person in the process, because he could not borrow the car. He'll surely never face this kind of disappointment in life again so we have nothing to worry about.

Freestater456 5 years, 6 months ago

Kansas Voter he wasn't just trying to piss off his parents by burning the house down. If that was his intention wouldn't he do that when they were not at home? Not only were they home but they were asleep. You would have to be completely ignorant not to see that that is attempted murder.

Taxpayer 5 years, 6 months ago

Here's a partial listing of today's Douglas County jail census. David Winebrenner's brother, Dennis Winebrenner, is an inmate there. Nice family!

WILTSEY, LEWIS BARRY 08/16/1964 44 W M BRO BRO 6'04" 230 DOUGLAS
WINEBRENNER, DENNIS FRANCIS 01/22/1968 41 W M BRO BRO 5'06" 146 DOUGLAS
WOODS, GARY WAYNE 05/23/1959 50 W M BRO GRN 6'04" 195 DOUGLAS


openminded 5 years, 6 months ago

I need to let you know some information on the work release programs. I work at a prison so this is not second hand info. When a person is approved to be in a work release program, they have proven themselves to many people-from Unit team people to wardens. They are forced to have a savings account, forced to pay off restitution, fines, fees (steps to get their DL back, etc), they then start paying for their room and board, and then and only then, whatever is left, they have to spend at the facility's canteen.

I see inmates who strive to be work release status...STRIVE! They are eager to prove to the outside that they have changed and that they CAN make it.

Also, as far as the parents having to stand by their son, that statement is not true. Many inmates have no contact with their family due to hard feelings, ashamed that a family member is in prison, etc. Parents are not obligated to stand by their kids. They have feelings and if they decide to forgive him and stand by him, that is their option and I appreciate that in them. If they had decided to not forgive him, that is their option as well.

I'm not sure why there is such a stink about this guy getting out. I work around Child Molesters and killers (more graphic and more horrifying than what happened in this story) who serve less than 10 years. I don't agree with the system at times, but everyone deserves a second chance and I think this is his.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 6 months ago

Let's all hope the kid who killed three people at Boardwalk gets to serve 22 years.

Confrontation 5 years, 6 months ago

It's just like that Rose freak. They should both spend the rest of their lives in jail. No one is safe with them roaming the streets with matches in hand.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm not sure what's worse: this guy getting out early or if he were to stay in the slammer while our tax dollars paid for all his accomodations. Should have just lit his cell on fire.

orahadl 5 years, 6 months ago

I think that you all are wrong. i do feel sorry for the family that lost there love one. but that the job of the firefighter is putting there life in danger for other. are you telling me that when firefighters esd..... help someone and something happens to them at the person that they where help should be charged with it. what about if abulance try to help someone but they where not able to should they be charged for that. how can you set here and judge this man that none of you know.

BigPrune 5 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't/isn't the fire starter mentally ill/handicapped?

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 6 months ago

After reading all these comments, I must say this: my heart goes out to the firefighter's family, who will never, ever have him back.

But the perp spent as many years in jail as he did on the outside. If he has earned his way into parole, let the chance be given. Why should taxpayers keep him in jail if he has - at least in theory - that he can earn a living on his own?

lawthing 5 years, 6 months ago

The man obviously had mental problems and had been going without his medication.

This whole situation is sad, In or out, he still has been given a life sentence that he will have to deal with what he has done.

When there is a death as the result of a crime there is never any winners. But there comes a time when everyone needs to move on.

That time has come, sadly it wont include Mark.

kansasfire911 5 years, 6 months ago

I lived in the same neighborhood as the fire house, as well as having a paper route that included the fire station when I was a kid. I remember Mark Blair and the other guys. I would always hang out there and had a good time which is probably why I'm a firefighter today. I also remeber when Mark Blair was murdered. It was like the air was let out of the station. Perhaps the family of this murderer can forgive him, but I guarantee the Firefighter Family is a strong bond and they will not forgive him. The release of David Winbrenner is a slap in the face to Blairs personall family as well as his fire department family. I hope for his sake he stays far far away from Lawrence!

5 years, 6 months ago

I was a 4-year old sleeping in the bedroom directly across the street from this fire and I spent much of my childhood with horrible nightmares and was afraid for years that our house was going to burn down in the middle of the night and my whole family was going to die. David should not have been released from prison. His selfishness caused harm to far more people than he will ever know.

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